Keith Ellison denies allegations he abused ex-girlfriend

Rep. Keith Ellison is denying allegations made public on Saturday that he physically abused an ex-girlfriend...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 7:57 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 7:57 AM

Rep. Keith Ellison is denying allegations made public on Saturday that he physically abused an ex-girlfriend.

The allegations were detailed in a Facebook post by Austin Monahan, the son of Ellison's former girlfriend Karen Monahan. The son wrote that he found a video on his mother's computer in 2017 that allegedly showed the Minnesota Democrat attempting to drag his mother off a bed while cursing at her.

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Keith Ellison

Political Figures - US

Politics

Primaries and caucuses

Political organizations

US Democratic Party

US political parties

CNN first spoke with Karen Monahan on Friday and Saturday about social media posts she'd made, some obliquely referencing Ellison. CNN was in the process of reporting the story when her son went public Saturday afternoon. CNN has asked to view the video, but Monahan said she could not produce it.

The charges came just days before a Tuesday primary election in which Ellison is running to be the Democratic nominee for Minnesota's attorney general. On Sunday, two of Ellison's Democratic primary opponents, state representative Debra Hilstrom and Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan, called on him to respond to the allegations.

Ellison denied the claims on Sunday and said no video of the incident existed because it did not happen.

"Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being," Ellison said in a statement. "This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false."

In conversations with CNN on Friday and Saturday, Monahan, an organizer with the environmental group the Sierra Club, said Ellison was emotionally abusive and on one occasion physically abusive near the end of their relationship in late 2016, prompting her to move out of Ellison's apartment. She said that alleged physical altercation was the incident her son referred to involving Ellison allegedly pulling her off the bed and cursing at her. Monahan said she discreetly recorded the video on her cell phone and then uploaded it onto her computer.

Monahan said Saturday that she did not know where the video was because she misplaced it when moving. Monahan also said she would not want the video made public in any case, calling it "embarrassing."

Asked again on Monday about the video, Monahan said she put it on a flash drive and packed it up in her previous home and couldn't immediately find it because it was in storage.

"It's not on me to show embarrassing and traumatizing video that impacts both families," Monahan told CNN on Monday.

Three friends of Monahan, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, told CNN she had confided in them about the bed incident in the months after she had moved out of Ellison's apartment.

Monahan also shared with CNN dozens of screenshots of text messages and Twitter direct messages she claimed she exchanged with Ellison.

Monahan provided one text of her mentioning the physical altercation to Ellison in December 2017.

"Keith, We never discussed -- the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed, yelling get the f*** out now, calling me a bitch and saying I hate you bitch," the text message read. In follow up texts viewed by CNN, Ellison did not directly address the physical altercation.

Other messages viewed by CNN do not specifically show incidents of verbal abuse.

In one, she tells Ellison that she plans to mention him in her book and he says she does not have his permission to do so. Other text messages showed Ellison and Monahan discussing removing her things from the apartment they shared after Monahan moved out. The conversations are at times cordial.

When asked for further comment, Ellison's campaign referred back to the original statement.

A representative for the Democratic National Committee did not return a request for comment. Ellison serves as deputy chair of the committee.

Monahan said coming forward had nothing to do with hurting Ellison in the primary election.

"People can vote for whoever they feel is the best candidate based on their values. This has nothing to do with that," she said. "Me sharing my story has nothing to do with the primary election. It is never a good time for a survivor to share their story. If I waited a week later, it would become an issue between a Democrat and Republican."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98447

Reported Deaths: 2072
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27557932
Ramsey11167323
Dakota7692126
Anoka6281137
Stearns409424
Washington391855
Scott264833
Olmsted253528
Nobles197916
Blue Earth17366
St. Louis172542
Wright17017
Carver14467
Clay142441
Rice13478
Mower13446
Sherburne117714
Kandiyohi10563
Winona92018
Lyon7334
Waseca7228
Benton5633
Steele5552
Crow Wing55418
Nicollet54717
Freeborn5464
Watonwan5354
Chisago5171
Todd5072
McLeod5022
Le Sueur4764
Otter Tail4694
Beltrami4605
Martin44611
Goodhue3899
Pine3550
Douglas3522
Itasca35215
Polk3274
Isanti3191
Becker2842
Carlton2791
Morrison2702
Dodge2610
Pipestone23810
Chippewa2321
Cottonwood2290
Meeker2132
Wabasha2060
Sibley2023
Yellow Medicine1982
Brown1962
Cass1864
Rock1810
Redwood1783
Murray1742
Mille Lacs1693
Renville1618
Jackson1531
Unassigned15352
Faribault1470
Swift1441
Fillmore1330
Houston1300
Kanabec1288
Roseau1260
Koochiching1233
Hubbard1221
Pennington1201
Lincoln1180
Stevens1071
Pope1000
Aitkin841
Big Stone830
Wadena730
Wilkin713
Lac qui Parle681
Grant634
Lake600
Norman560
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse340
Clearwater310
Lake of the Woods241
Kittson120
Cook70

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 87828

Reported Deaths: 1332
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16113264
Woodbury559768
Johnson517927
Black Hawk454192
Linn4163114
Story348517
Dubuque340242
Scott309528
Dallas282938
Pottawattamie220139
Buena Vista200312
Marshall179434
Sioux17073
Wapello134157
Webster131714
Plymouth118221
Clinton113921
Muscatine112855
Crawford11086
Cerro Gordo106421
Warren9696
Jasper87034
Des Moines8068
Henry7734
Marion7728
Tama75332
Carroll6955
Lee6527
Wright5971
Dickinson5426
Boone5268
Bremer5067
Washington48511
Delaware4413
Louisa43415
Mahaska42720
Lyon3754
Jackson3583
Floyd3573
Franklin35218
Clay3434
Winneshiek3408
Benton3381
Hamilton3343
Winnebago32313
Hardin3111
Poweshiek3118
Buchanan2921
Jones2893
Kossuth2860
Butler2792
Emmet27510
Chickasaw2701
Shelby2701
Clarke2693
Clayton2683
Sac2670
Allamakee2656
Guthrie2649
Harrison2593
Cherokee2572
Cedar2531
Fayette2382
Madison2342
Grundy2294
Iowa2221
Palo Alto2080
Hancock1992
Mitchell1970
Humboldt1943
Howard1927
Mills1911
Page1910
Calhoun1883
Osceola1770
Cass1762
Pocahontas1662
Monona1621
Monroe16211
Lucas1566
Appanoose1443
Union1423
Jefferson1401
Taylor1341
Davis1284
Ida1281
Fremont1220
Keokuk1191
Van Buren1181
Worth1090
Greene1050
Montgomery995
Audubon891
Wayne882
Adair731
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams330
Unassigned140
Rochester
Broken Clouds
51° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
Mason City
Few Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Albert Lea
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Austin
Broken Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Charles City
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Winds pick up for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events